Who should we pray for? The better and easier question to answer is, who not to pray for? I could not find any verse that says when to not pray! Hence, by simply not putting a specific group in the Bible, as those to not pray for, we can conclude that everybody: good or evil; right or wrong; black or white; male or female deserves prayer. Who should be doing the prayers? Ummmm, Silly, you and me. [That is how I would answer my kids.]
OK, Why? Simply because we love the Father and He told us to! Whom do we make it a point to pray for daily? Our children, friends, church leaders, those that can’t stand us, and very importantly our rulers. Wow! The last one is a hard one for some people.
If the last one is arduous for you to do, take a moment and explore why. How do you feel about the person over your government? Be honest. Do you feel extreme anger, so much so you are kissing hatred? We know the evil-one just loves for us to harbor anger and hatred. If these are the things you feel for your leader, you are rewarding satan. You are turning your face away from the Messiah. You are enabling the evil-one to get a foot hold in your home and in your country. Therefore, I would suggest/plead with you to pray for yourself, before you even start praying for others.
7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
That is a little harsh you might think, but it is the Lord’s words not mine. He is telling us that no matter what comes out of our mouths, it is what is felt in our heart that draws us close to Him. And speaking angry words about your government leaders is not what He instructs us to do. Why? Well, does the Messiah not say: Matthew 22:21 ‟… Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” and does He not say in verse 39 ‟And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Let us look at Titus 3:2 ‟To speak evil of no man, … shewing all meekness unto all men.”
You cannot turn your news on without hearing some foul comments about everyone’s government. There seems to be no respect for the office in any country. Again, remember the coming of the Son, these actions of the news medias are working with the hand of satan. What should your prayers be for? To build up your leaders or to ask that they do the Lord’s will.
There are other reasons for praying for your leaders. You have a responsibility as a child of the Lord to pray for his/her salvation. Our prayers for him/her is an intercession with the Lord for saving grace toward their soul. Just as you might pray for a spouse or child, pray for your leader.
Ⅰ Timothy 2:4
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
Then think about praying for his/her guidance in the country’s welfare and for the welfare of the believers. Remember you are an intercessor with your prayers. The leaders are being pushed and pulled by the workers of evil, pray for wisdom so they may see evil as evil. Pray for strength to endure the attacks from all corners; for advisers that are wise in the Lord; and let us not forget to pray for their families. For how hard is it for you to see someone attack your spouse, children, parents; just because someone has an ungodly dislike for you?
Why else should we pray for our leaders?
The Messiah taught a parable of a lord that forgave a servant for a debt, giving him more time to pay it; then the servant turns around and does the total opposite to a fellow that owes him a debt:
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, …
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Let us get a little selfish, since that is how we think in this lowly world. The reason we should pray for others is for the need to keep our own hearts clear of conscience. Did the Son not teach that love is our greatest gift? Also, is prayer not intercession? So, is this not selfish? We want to keep our faith with our Father. Therefore, if we cannot pray for those whom we dislike, then remember we are turning our face from the Lord, what will He do toward us?
Remember intercession taps into the power of God on other’s behalf, thus on our behalf.
Also, remember our prayers are not just to be for the leader. Yes, we pray for him/her but that prayer will intercede and quicken for each person he/she has contact with. When we see our spouse come to the Father through the Son, does it not make the home happy? Does it not affect the love in the home, does it not give the whole home a new air?
Consequently, our prayers are once again a little selfish. There is no shame in wanting peace in our home. See Ⅰ Timothy 2:2
Ⅰ Timothy 2
1 I EXHORT therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
We cannot help but see that verse one, in this chapter of Ⅰ Timothy, starts with an urging to first pray. Does it not exhort prayers as supplications and intercessions? Both “supplications” and “intercessions” are “humble entreaties” to our Lord. Take note, in a single verse we have ‟pray” spelled out with three different words.
Ⅰ Timothy 2:1
I EXHORT therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
This verse even proves that there is not a chosen group or person that we should exclude from our prayers. (for all men) It even makes a point to include the persons of authority, the kings, the rulers, and the elected.
Again, we ask: But Why? Well, does verse 2 not say: ‟that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”? Then does verse 3 not say: ‟For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;”?
Some other verses that should give us encouragement to pray for leaders and our countries:
Ⅱ Chronicles 7 : 14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Jeremiah 29 : 7
And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.
1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
2 To speak evil of no man, … shewing all meekness unto all men.
3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared.
Matthew 12 : 25
And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every Kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company; and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: …
41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceives not the beam THAT IS IN THINE OWN EYE?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.